Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

In the Footsteps of a King

I had a very interesting day recently in rural South Staffordshire, on a taster familiarisation event organised by the district council.

Guides, group travel organisers and coach operators had been invited, to be shown the area`s historic connections with the escape of Charles II during the Civil War in 1651.

We gathered at the council`s attractive offices at Codsall, and after coffee boarded the coach which was to ferry us round for the day. We were joined not only by council officers, but by councillors as well. All were anxious to show us what an attractive and interesting area they represent.

Among the delegates were two old friends, Mark Smith and Jenney Hanley.

Our first stop was at Boscobel House, now in the charge of English Heritage. This is one of the houses where the fugitive Charles took shelter, and we were given a tour of the house. Outside is the Royal Oak, a descendant of the famous one where he sheltered and which gave its name to hundreds of pubs.

Then, it being luchtime, we went on to the Bradford Arms at Ivetsey Bank on Telford`s main road towards Wales. Here we had an excellent traditional lunch, which I cannot praise highly enough.

After that it was back on the coach for a ride to Moseley Old Hall, which is run by the National Trust. Again we were given a tour of the house, another where Charles sheltered, and we were also treated to a talk by costumed ladies telling us of 17th century cooking and domestic arrangements.

Then it was back to the council offices, from where we dispersed and went home.

This was an excellently organised day around a very interesting area. I will be very surprised if it does not result in a good number of group visits.

Well done, South Staffordshire!